Neha Balapal, MD(c)

Nominated From: Nepal-Kathmandu University

Research Site: Nepal-Kathmandu University (Dhulikhel Hospital)

Research Area: Cardiovascular Disease

Primary Mentors: Dr. Annette Fitzpatrick, Dr. Archana Shrestha

Perceptions of Integration of Ayurvedic Medicine into CVD Prevention in Nepal

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally, constituting 32% of deaths worldwide in 2019. Nepal is no exception to this. With 26.9% of total deaths in Nepal being attributable to CVD in 2017, and half of medical bills in Nepal being paid out of pocket, there are systemic gaps in CVD disease prevention in Nepal that hinder public health strategies. Developing public health interventions for CVD prevention can be complicated in countries that have their own traditional medicine practices, which can lead to skepticism towards allopathic treatments. With rising disease prevalence in Nepal and hesitancy to use allopathic treatment, enlisting traditional Ayurvedic medicine into allopathic treatment regimens can engage trust in the medical community. The Dhulikhel Heart Study (DHS) is an ongoing prospective longitudinal cohort study that was started in 2013. The DHS has collected extensive data on CVD mortality and risk factors with the goal of reducing CVD-related mortality in Dhulikhel, Nepal. Using data collected from the DHS, this study will utilize in-depth interviews of individuals identified in the DHS along with key community stakeholders to seek to 1) identify characteristics and practices of Ayurvedic Medicine in Nepal and 2) evaluate barriers and facilitators for integrating Ayurvedic medicine with allopathic medical care for the prevention of CVD.

Research Significance

By understanding the influence of cultural practices on healthcare interaction, educational interventions and treatment regimens can be better designed to integrate holistic care to improve health outcomes, especially in low-medical resource settings. The findings from this study can be used to design integrated community education that can be disseminated through medical providers and community educators.


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